Mozilla

Posts Tagged with “Foundation”

Mozilla Foundation and 2010 Goals

November 30th, 2008

In the past few weeks I’ve been involved in a lot of conversations about strengthening the Mozilla Foundation and a lot of conversations about the 2010 goals. I don’t think we’ve got the connection between the two quite right.

We’ve been thinking about the Foundation’s role in too small a way. We’ve been thinking along the lines of: “Which portion of our goals has a good space for Foundation activity?” Or “are some of these goals particularly Foundation-like?”  The result has been identification of some areas that do feel particularly appropriate for the Foundation. But this isn’t the biggest, or most important question.  These questions focus on organizational structure rather than the goals themselves.

The really important question is: How does Mozilla assemble / motivate / use all of our resources to achieve the things we identify as most important? In the near future, the  Foundation will develop new programs and new capabilities. For example, Mark has mentioned “education” as a likely area of focus. Let’s assume that’s the case, and let’s assume that mobile is a 2010 goal. The question we should be asking is:  what are all the things Mozilla can do to bring openness and participation and innovation to a unified web that spans mobile devices and the desktop?

The Foundation leads a set of product – related programs indirectly, through delegation to  Mozilla Corporation and Mozilla Messaging. It currently leads a set of programs directly, and will organize and lead a larger set in the future.    All of these programs should contribute to the tasks we think are most important. The product groups — browser, platform, messaging, email should all be contributing to each goal. Other parts of the Mozilla community will hopefully use their resources to help achieve the same goals.  The Mozilla Foundation should lead the way here.

With this approach, I looked at the goals again to see if they make sense. I think they do. Of course, the goals may be revised a bit as a result of the conversations of the past few months. But I don’t feel that the list should be changed due to increased Mozilla Foundation involvement. If the Foundation focuses on education, then it makes sense that some part of those programs would try to advance a unified web, consumer control over relevant data, and the other goals. If the Mozilla Foundation has a program focused on consumer outreach or evangelism, it again makes sense that part of those programs focus on the 2010 goals.

I also find that this approach better reflects the centrality of the Mozilla Foundation values — we are all focused on building an the Internet that refects Mozilla values. Some of us do so through creating products.  This is not separate from the key values or somehow different from the heart of the Mozilla Foundation. The products exist to make our values concrete. Our products exist to put innovation, choice and participation at the fingertips of hundreds of millions of people.

The products also open many doors, from evangelism to participation to thought leadership. All of thse resouces should be utilized in pursuit of our goals.

I’d like to go back and look at the the Foundation through this broader lens of Mozilla-wide goals.  I’ve talked with Mark about this. I think it’s fair to say he was also feeling we’re not quite there yet with the Foundation-specific part of the 2010 goals.  Mark will certainly speak for himself, but I do know that this more integrated approach resonates well with his work.    Look for something on this topic from Mark soon.

2010 Goals and Broader Mozilla Foundation Ideas

October 19th, 2008

Mark Surman recently joined the Mozilla Foundation as our new Executive Director.  Mark and I are spending a lot of time together, and one topic is the 2010 goals.  I crafted these goals to be focused on our products and technology.  Now that Mark has been immersed in Mozilla for a few weeks (coming up on a month), we believe it would be great to include some references to even broader Mozilla Foundation goals.  Mark will propose something in the next week or so.  We hope that the various discussions about the 2010 goals will include some thinking on these topics.

Mark Surman: New Mozilla Foundation Executive Director

August 18th, 2008

I’m thrilled to announce that Mark Surman is joining the Mozilla Foundation as our new Executive Director. Mark joins us after a long period of getting to know — and being known by — Mozilla contributors. This includes many, many hours of discussions with Mozilla contributors, Mozilla Foundation Board members and search committee members, an Air Mozilla broadcast, extensive discussions with current Mozilla Foundation personnel, and more hours getting to know Mozilla at the Firefox Plus Summit. It’s a rare candidate who can transit such a prolonged and open process. Many thanks to everyone who participated.

A very special thanks go to Frank Hecker, who has served as our Executive Director since 2006. Frank has been a huge champion of extending Mozilla’s reach beyond our current scope, of using Mozilla DNA and values to do so, and of expanding the open web through programs like the accessibility initiative that he has implemented. We’re very fortunate that Frank will remain with the Mozilla Foundation and will continue to champion these and other projects central to the Mozilla identity.

Mark is wrapping up his work with the Shuttleworth Foundation and will join us officially on September 22. He’ll be thinking about Mozilla — you can find his thoughts at his blog. But Mark probably won’t be very active in the online Mozilla world for much of late August and September when he’s traveling with only limited time and access. Look for more in late September and October.

Mark Surman and the Mozilla Foundation

July 17th, 2008

I’m thrilled to report that we’ve identified the person we believe should lead the Mozilla Foundation into a new stage of activity. That person is Mark Surman, the role is Mozilla Foundation Executive Director. “We” in this case is the Executive Director Search Committee, the Mozilla Foundation Board of Directors, Mozilla Foundation staff, plus a set of other Mozilla contributors who have spoken with Mark.

The Mozilla Foundation Board of Directors and Mark would like the Mozilla community and Mark to meet before we make a final decision. We’re inviting interested parties to talk with Mark about the Mozilla Foundation and the Executive Director role, to develop a feel for how well Mark and the Mozilla project fit together, and provide your thoughts and advice to Mark on what would make a successful Mozilla Foundation and a successful ED.

We’ll do this via an Air Mozilla broadcast. It will be on Wednesday, July 23 at 11am Pacific time, 6pm GMT. Mark lives in Toronto, so he’ll join us from there. Asa will host, and Mitchell will participate from Mountain View. As always, we’ll have facilities for people to send in questions, either before or during the broadcast and we’ll answer as many of them as possible. We’ll make the questions and the broadcast available afterwards for those who can’t join us at the time. After the broadcast we’ll have a mechanism for you to share your ideas. Most likely that will be  messages to me, I’ll be more definitive shortly. Your thoughts will assist the Board and Mark in making a final decision.

We are not planning to introduce a series of candidates for the Executive Director in this manner. After many months and countless discussions and interviews, Mark stands out as the one person we want to introduce to the Mozilla community for this role.

Some additional materials: Mark’s blog, which includes some recent posts about Mozilla, Mark’s CV, and the Mozilla Foundation Executive Director job description.

Mozilla Foundation Activities

June 27th, 2008

There’s a bit of a discussion underway about what the Mozilla Foundation might do to become an even more effective organization in achieving its mission. Mark Surman and Dave Eaves had some thoughts about this mission in possibly the broadest possible formulation — a social movement for the Open Web (or Open Internet). David Ascher has a nice follow-up, pointing out a few areas beyond the products we shipping today that are in need of serious attention for an Open Internet to be real. Glyn Moody has a piece up at Linux Journal called “How Can we Harness the Firefox Effect” that carries these ideas even further. This is great to see. The open-endedness of this encourages good brainstorming.

I’ve lived deep inside the Mozilla product effort for so long I’m probably a bit less open-ended. At the very highest level we want to make the Internet a universal platform accessible to all, and to promote innovation and choice in Internet activities. Moving one step closer to concreteness, we have the Mozilla Manifesto. The Manifesto sets out some of the characteristics necessary for the Internet to be such a platform. We’re doing a good job through our product and service offerings. The Mozilla Foundation must maintain these, but there’s more to be done.

If the Internet is to be open, universal and truly accessible, there must be ways for individuals to participate in creating this Open Internet. We know that open source is the quintessential model for us. Open source allows us to participate in building products that embody openness and enable innovation and choice.

But not everyone is going to build software products and services.  The question is, how do we take the things that make Mozilla effective and expand that to a broader scope? I’m wary of becoming diffuse and losing our effectiveness. I’m wary of the Mozilla Foundation becoming an organization that does a lot of talking about the Open Internet but doesn’t test our ideas by putting them into practice and by enabling people to do things.

This leads me to think that building the Mozilla Foundation is building concentric circles, with the software development we’re already doing as the innermost circle. The next circle out would be pretty closely related to this, the next circle a little less so. One of these concentric layers may become a boundary — the furthest point we can go and still have cohesion and effectiveness. That’s a fine thing. At that point we’ll know the scope of things we can do as Mozilla.

Figuring out what makes sense as the next couple of layers is a good-sized job itself. It’s important to do this, to identify the concrete opportunities for broadening the Mozilla Foundation. I’ve been immersed in the product questions for so long that it is very refreshing to see new perspectives on this. It’s got my mind spinning off in new directions.

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